It has already been more than two years since the tragic helicopter crash that left famed basketball player Kobe Bryant dead along with his then-13-year-old daughter Gianna.
The crash also devastatingly took the lives of John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, their daughter and teammate of Gianna’s, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Christina Mauser, 38, Sarah Chester, 45, her daughter and teammate of Gianna’s Payton Chester, 13, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
News of the deadly accident, which was reportedly caused when the pilot flew into low-hanging clouds and likely became disoriented, subsequently flying into the hillside, shook the world and left Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, to mourn the loss of both her husband and one of her four children.
Now, in what will surely be an annually solemn time for the widow, Vanessa took to social media to celebrate what would have been Gianna’s sweet 16.
Vanessa Bryant celebrates daughter Gigi’s birthday
In a series of heart-wrenching but also heart-warming posts, Vanessa took over her social media page with many tributes to her daughter, who was endearingly called Gigi for short.
Beginning with some plugs for the Nike shoe line Mambacita that the late aspiring young basketball player inspired, Vanessa then posted a slew of birthday tributes for Gigi, throwing in some flashback clips of Kobe pridefully talking about the daughter who was following in his footsteps.
Captioning the first post with “Happy 16th birthday baby girl. I love you Gigi! We miss you so much,” Vanessa had fans and fellow celebs alike sending her all their love and support next to the snap of Gigi dominating the basketball court, followed by two short video clips of her playing and Kobe playing.
Actress Halle Berry replied with a simple series of heart emojis, as did big sister Natalia and actresses Gabrielle Union and Tia Mowry.
Vanessa filed a wrongful death suit against helicopter company
Close to a month after the crash, Vanessa took action and filed a suit against the helicopter company that owned the chopper and employed the pilot at the helm that fateful day in January 2020.
According to Monsters and Critics, Vanessa charged Island Express and pilot Ara George Zobayan with negligence, alleging that the helicopter was not safe to fly in the first place and that the pilot did not have proper training to know how to navigate through inclement weather.
She also claimed that the chopper company allowed the crash to occur by not stopping Ara from taking off into the fog, something she said Island Express pilots were specifically not licensed to do.
Nearly a year after first filing the suit, alongside the family members of the other passengers who were on board, Vanessa reportedly reached a private settlement for an amount that has not been released.